Gooey, gingery and cockle-warming, this sticky toffee loaf is comfort on a plate.
Sticky toffee ginger loaf
200g pitted dates, halved 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 75g unsalted butter, softened 115g soft brown sugar 2 tsp ground ginger 3 eggs 80g (about 4 balls) stem ginger, finely chopped 225g self-raising flour, sifted
For the caramel glaze: 110g caster sugar 40g butter 225ml single cream
1. Line a 900g loaf tin with baking parchment and grease it. Preheat oven to 180C/Fan 160C/350F.
2. Put dates and bicarbonate of soda in a large mixing bowl, cover with 330ml boiling water, stir and set aside for at least 20 mins.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until thick and pale. Add the ground ginger, then the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Stir in the soaked date mixture, the stem ginger and flour and mix until well combined – the mixture should be quite loose. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 50-60 mins until a skewer comes out clean.
5. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
6. To make the glaze, choose a pan large enough to ensure the sugar is no more than 2mm thick over the base, otherwise the heat won’t distribute evenly through the sugar. Set the pan over a gentle heat and add the sugar and 1 tsp water. Shake the pan rather than stir it with a spoon to avoid the sugar hardening before it liquifies – this will take around 15 mins and you want a deep, golden caramel. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until melted and well combined.
7. Heat cream in a separate pan over a gentle heat, then whisk it into the caramel until smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool and firm up slightly so that it has a good spreading consistency. Spread over the cooled cake and serve.
Recipe taken from Café Kitchen by Shelagh Ryan (Ryland Peters & Small, £17)